Barnacle Parp's Chainsaw Guide

Choosing the right sized saw for you, starting a saw, and safe handling instructions are among the topics covered in this excerpt from a popular chainsaw guide.

| November/December 1978

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    Safety First! Follow this chainsaw guide and you'll be able to use your saw with minimum risk to life and limb.
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    Avoid these scenarios that results in kickback.
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    Advice on proper attire, stance, and grip.
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    Tips on how to start the saw and apply it to logs.

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This chainsaw guide is for anyone who cuts wood or uses cut wood. Because if you do either of those things, you need a chainsaw. If you have or are going to have a wood-burning stove or a fireplace, you certainly need a chainsaw. It can pay for itself in one week or less. (If your wood-burning heater is efficient, you can significantly lower your utility bills and your consumption of nonrenewable and disappearing energy sources such as natural gas, oil, and coal. Several excellent chainsaws cost less than two cords of cut wood and practically everyone lives near some source of seasoned logs.) you.

How Does a Chainsaw Affect the Environment?

Here's an interesting fact: The total timber harvest for 1900, before the chainsaw, was 12.1 billion cubic feet; the total timber harvest for 1973 — with the extensive use of tractors, cranes, and chainsaws — was 12.3 billion cubic feet. Almost the same.

A chainsaw is dangerous to the environment if it is used in any way that is not fitting, proper, or natural. If you yourself do not use your chainsaw to cut living trees for firewood or for fun, you'll have little effect on the environment. There are millions of unused cords of dead firewood left in the forests every year and that's not likely to change suddenly.

As for the emissions from a chainsaw, they are relatively slight. A chainsaw sounds and smells awful, but it really puts out far less poison than an automobile and is far more efficient in fuel consumption. If you use fuel in any other way, you use more fuel per work minute than you use with a chainsaw.

Guide Bar Size

Gasoline chainsaws are commonly available in bar lengths from 10 inches to 36 inches. There are some 8-inch bars available, especially on electric chainsaws, but they are obviously not very practical, even for trimming the hedge. And there are professional saws with 60-inch bars. They're very practical for the work they're intended to do, but not otherwise.

The common and most useful lengths for most of us are 12, 14, 16, and 20 inches. Lots of people who cut a great deal of wood, year-round, keep two saws: one lightweight with a 14-inch or 16-inch bar, and one medium-duty or light production with a 20-inch or 25-inch bar. In general, anything longer than 25 inches is too awkward for most users, and therefore unsafe.

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